Patient preparing to have blood taken by nurse

Northern Care Alliance tops England research table

More patients than ever before have taken part in research at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA) to improve NHS care and treatment.

Nearly 44,000 patients have taken part in studies at the Oldham, Bury & Rochdale, North Manchester and Salford Care Organisations. Patients of all ages from newborn to people in their 80s have been involved.

At the Oldham, Bury & Rochdale, and North Manchester Care Organisations, 37,122 patients took part in research in 2018-19. That makes them (The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust) the highest recruiter of the 234 research-active Trusts in England to National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) portfolio studies.

These are high quality studies that have been awarded funds as a result of open national competition, for research that is of clear value to the NHS and which takes account of Department of Health and NHS priorities. Other ‘non portfolio’ research also takes place in the NHS.

Key areas of expertise across these hospitals include infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, diabetes, cancer, gastroenterology, stroke, anaesthesia, reproductive health and research with children.

Global reputation

Salford Care Organisation (Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust), the other Care Organisation in the NCA, had 6,845 patients taking part in studies, a nine per cent increase on the figure for 2017-18. Salford has an international reputation in diabetes, kidney, dermatology, dementia and neurology, gastroenterology, stroke and metabolic medicine (rare diseases) research. It also carries out extensive research in surgery, anaesthesia and musculoskeletal conditions.

The NCA as a group is a leading recruiter to studies into anaesthesia, children’s care, dermatology, dementia, diabetes, gastroenterology and stroke.

The single biggest study during the year was the PAT-POPS study (32,724) which aims to improve future NHS care for children. Information on routine clinical observations for children and young people visiting Emergency Departments and Rochdale’s Urgent Care Centre will now feed into new guidelines to help clinicians decide on who should be admitted to hospital and who could be discharged home or signposted to a different service.

Cutting edge

Altogether, patients took part in 342 studies within the NCA in 2018-9, covering all specialties at our hospitals. More than 1,600 patients were involved in studies where the NCA worked with pharmaceutical and medical technology companies, giving these patients access to cutting-edge treatments.

The NCA’s high level of research activity is also reflected in the number of staff who have their work published in the key medical journals.

Director of Research & Innovation Operations Professor Steve Woby said: “Research links closely with clinical care and these figures mean that more people than ever before are being given the chance to test new medicines and to contribute to improvements in diagnosis, care and treatments.

“Studies have shown that research active hospitals and other NHS organisations have better outcomes for their patients and service users and our researchers are committed to improving healthcare for all.”

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